26 January 2010

An Open Letter to the NFL

Dear NFL, networks, and sponsors,

It's about your product and my declining interest. Years ago, regardless of whether the Bears were in the playoffs or not, when the playoffs were on TV, I watched every game, every moment I could. In fact, I pretty much made sure I watched that way all season long. All day on Sundays, plus Monday night and any extra games, plus lots a pre and post game coverage.

This year, my total time investment in watching the playoffs on TV was about two hours, and it was only because I had nothing else to do at the time. Now it is true that I watched a lot of NFL football on Sunday during the year, but that had as much to do with hanging out with my friends and fantasy football, as anything to do with your product.

So what has changed that caused this hard core football fan to give a big yawn to the playoffs? It's fairly simple: The football games on the NFL Network.

When the first Thursday night games were played on the NFL Network, I was angry. My cable company didn't carry the NFL network and it was difficult to get out and see the games at a bar or friends house. I went out a couple of times to see my Bears, or maybe for a particularly compelling match up, but for the most part I learned something very interesting about football.

I can live without it.

Did you hear me? I said I can live without your product. Your arrogant power play to try to force the cable companies (who get no love from me) into carrying your network on basic cable failed, and it failed epically. I just don't care whether I watch the games any more.

Yes, I'll probably watch the Super Bowl, but it will be about being with friends and 'the story' of the Saints. I will probably watch next year too, but if there is no season in 2011, who knows, maybe this once hardcore fan will no longer even be a casual one.


25 January 2010

Third Week in January 2010

Eek! I'm on call this week, dullsville. Monday was dull. Tuesday was dull, except for the part about getting calls all night. Wednesday after work I went to VK's house, had an omelet and helped her set up her new computer, not so dull. Thursday I couldn't manage to figure out how to set an alarm, so I was :45 late to work, otherwise Thursday was dull.

I'm trying to encourage my mother to answer e-mails. I think she would enjoy at least looking through pictures of her children, maybe even YouTube. But I cannot even get her to e-mail yet. She has a laptop and internet, but basically uses it for solitaire ... as one of my friends says "That's an expensive deck of cards."

Friday after work VK and I went out to Lansky's to eat. My blessed sleep for the night was short lived I started getting work phone calls early and often. They seemingly came in within three minutes of me falling back to sleep ... until 1630! I just gave up, got up, cleaned up, and went to Kaleb's for game night.

We played five games of 'Werewolf' (Lupus en Tabula), many of you may know this game as "Mafia". I got punked by a seven year old who was a werewolf. I got killed by her, however the villagers eventually won ... winning posthumously, yay. After that we played two games of Shadow Hunters. Followed by an unbelievably easy game of Shadows Over Camelot, CJ was the traitor, it's pretty dull to be traitor in that game. The last game of the evening was Betrayal at House on the Hill. I didn't finish the last game, I was finally so tired I let Angela finish the game for me.

I slept through the night without any calls, and finally was woken up about 0745. I eventually went to church, worked on a picture project (see next paragraph) until I went to VKs for dinner. We had a new dessert, called Cobbcrisp. Unfortunately, the visit was cut short by more snow. As I drove home I saw six cars "in the ditch", four of them facing the wrong way ... I kept slowing down, but made it home eventually and got a full nights sleep.

The picture project I am working on is to get all the pictures on my computer onto my Flickr account. This means I am going back and putting pictures on from 2004 and 2005 right now. I am still disappointed I managed to lose all my pictures dated from 3/31/2005 until 12/31/2005. I may have them on a hard drive, but that hard drive goes "click, click, click", when you plug it in. Anyway, the pictures are not particularly good, but some of them are fun. I'll be continuing on this little project for a while. You can check out my latest uploadings with the Flickr link about.

18 January 2010

Second Week in January 2010

Ch-Ch-Changes! Boy talk about things changing around in a hurry. Robin and Tim said they are moving out by the end of February, so I'm working on a plan. There is another plan too, a money plan. This is one that will provide some budgetary stability that has been missing for far too long, no more paycheck to paycheck (hopefully forever!). We made some positive changes at work too. 2010 is quite exciting so far!

Monday was a day of planning. Tuesday I finished up the plans and then went to VK's house for dinner. Wednesday was the start of putting the money plan in place, and I sold some stock.

Wednesday evening was Keith's birthday party. We had dinner at Old Chicago on 132nd, I've had very nice dinners at that location before, but this time the food was bad and I think they overcharged us for drinks, or it least it was very expensive. Afterward, we went over to Jenny and Becky's (still no sign of the alleged third roommate) and had cake.

Keith's Birthday #1 - Me
Yeah, those candles are not going to be blown out on the first try.

Thursday was a stay at evening.

Friday after work I ended up going to JNO. It was quite the adventure. We had Keith's birthday jam, Hugh trying to avoid the camera, Ben barely living through the evening, and a new superhero arrived on the dance scene!

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I'm not certain just who is behind that mask, but I think we all feel safer now...

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I think this picture was taken when Bethany and I had a misunderstanding about whether or not I was handing the camera to her, but it turned out well.

The rest of my pictures of the night are here.

Saturday during the day I ran errands by myself, then I ran errands with VK. I ended up with a new pair of jeans and a new pair of sunglasses. Have you ever noticed that when you try on new sunglasses, you have to try on the silliest ones you can find? Unless you're Troy or Jillian, I suppose.

Saturday night was Matt and Vivian's housewarming party. Two things are immediately obvious about Saturday night: a lot of fog, and a lot of food, one of which there is visual evidence for below. I had my camera with me, but somehow I didn't take any pictures, it must be a first, so thank Matt for the photos.

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It was all so good, I can hardly move still. Photo credit: Matt

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I told Jenny NOT to ask Jack about the horse that kicked him. Photo credit: Matt

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Vivian got her nose pierced? Some thing is very odd about these cups Photo credit: Matt

Matt took a few more pictures, including a cute one of a certain couple. You can find them here

Sunday morning I got up at a reasonable hour and met VK for church, and somehow ended up on TV. After church we went to eat at Jason's Deli. After we ordered I went to the restroom, opened the door and was greeted with about an inch of standing water ... and a three or four year old boy maniacally flushing the urinal three or four times a second. I wasn't quite sure whether to laugh or beat him, so I settled for leaving quietly. A deli employee was heading back to the bathroom with a mop as I left.

Later on I met with Troy and Merinda about living arrangements. I will be moving in with them near the end of February. I'll be in the back corner, so it should be nice and quiet. I hate waiting... It's still January, isn't it?

11 January 2010

First Week in January 2010

Welcome to 2010!

The week got off to an inauspicious start with:

1) waking up half an hour early from a dream in which a monster not unlike Aylee (in her original form) was trying to eat me.
2) my car not starting, got a new battery Monday night.
3) got to work and my computer would not start, it turned out to be a video card gone bad, but there were associated issues that took a big bite out of my productivity the first part of my day.

Eventually it all worked out, VK met me for lunch and I received some Christmas presents from VK and her family. I love clothes in good taste.

Not much happened Tuesday through Thursday except for dizziness, headaches, and holding the bed down. I did manage to read through four more years of Sluggy Freelance, and I am actually current.

Friday was an exciting day at work. There are changes for the new year in the work environment, exciting changes. Yay!

After work on Friday I went to the JNO meeting (okay, I fed hungry cats first) then several of us hung out at the bar downstairs (which was practically empty). Upstairs was more crowded, but not the usual. The funny part of the night was provided by Vivian, she came in sipping a "grande" cup, so I asked what she was drinking ... latte, cocoa, espresso?

"Chicken Tortilla Soup" was the answer; then I caught a whiff of it and that's what it was. We finished up the night with pie at Village Inn.

Friday overnight into Saturday morning was supposed to be "coldmeggedon" with a low of -24°F. Um, almost, the low was 1°F. That's only 25°F off, plenty close enough, right?

Saturday, now officially buffet day. VK and I went out to lunch at Ameristar for the buffet. After eating too many plates worth of food we walked around for a while, then took naps. Later on I met up with Kevin and we had dinner at Golden Corral. All buffets, all the time. I have two problems with buffets, one is personal, and the other is preparation. My personal issue is I take "All You Can Eat" as an affront, a challenge. Someday I hope to not take it so personally. The preparation is butter and salt, I don't salt my food, and I think butter is good, but too much is bad. I suppose if I wanted a healthy buffet, I'd go to Whole Foods.

After all the hot buffet action, we stopped by my house to pick up a game and my camera. Kevin waited in the car, I ran in. I opened the door, and Danny comes running out Tim and Robin's room carrying a +1 sword of inflatableness. He starts whacking me with the sword in the leg. Then he grabs on to one of my legs for a ride, stabbing me the whole way, not letting go when I picked up my things and then he chased me halfway to the door before running away. Thank goodness for damage reduction.

Once over to Troy and Merinda's we watched Michelle, Merinda, Frank, and Joe finish up a game of Qwirkle (one of my faves). Then the six of us played a Game of Things, this was the game I got from Troy and Merinda for Christmas. It was quite fun(ny). Michelle left and Troy then joined us for a game of Then the six of us played a Shadows Over Camelot, the good guys won, Kevin was convinced there was a traitor, the rest of us knew better. Just as a note, if Joe tells you something is 'creepy', just suppress your curiosity.

Sunday I went to church, then over to Troy and Merinda's to watch Troy, Ben, Kaleb, Maeg, CJ, and Mandi play a game of Twilight Imperium. You notice I said watch, not play. It's an afternoon waster, and it did. They played for about seven hours with Ben winning, but I didn't make it that long.

In other news:
1) I jumped back on the exercise wagon. I'm going to try something different now, getting up 30 minutes earlier, and exercising in the morning.
2) It looks like I will be moving, probably within the next six weeks.
3) ...and a big thanks to those who interactively *read* my blog ... Troy, Kaleb, and Rachel. Troy has already collected his quarter.
4) If anyone sees a missing pie plate from the chili party, let me know.

04 January 2010

New Years Week 2009/2010

Finally on Monday Night Football the Bears looked like the team I had thought they would be all year long. Even had the Bears not been involved, it was a very exciting game and worth staying up late to watch. I've thought all year long the Vikings were not quite as good as advertised. They are good, but put them up against an intelligent coach (who new Lovie Smith still qualified?) and they would lose ... and they did.

In a related football note, I won "Kaleb's" fantasy football league with a Monday night rally. I used the same draft strategy in both my leagues, got pretty much who I wanted (based on draft position) in both leagues, and one worked out, and the other didn't. I've now been in leagues for a total four years, three in one, one in the other, and I've got one third place finish and one first place finish. Since many of you skipped this paragraph, I'll reward those who didn't gloss it, I'll give you twenty five cents if you cleverly reference a giraffe in your comments. This offer only applies to the first ten comments from people I already know, one per person.

Tuesday was the end of the shoveling, at least for now. I headed over to VKs house after work and did the sidewalks, mailbox, and part of the street so Bente can park. Oh, I did get dinner for all my hard work ... peanut chicken. It almost had enough onions in it.

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Wednesday I saw the doctor about the bump on my head (see above picture). Doctor Lorrie took two x-rays of my head (insert your allegedly funny line here). I personally am hoping for a horn like a narwhal, but will settle for a third eye that sees across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. She said we'd watch it to make sure it didn't get too weird.

Wednesday night I went over to Kaleb's and watched the Husker bowl game with about a dozen people. It went like I thought it would go, and a nice time was had by all, because there were no Arizona fans there.

Thursday I swapped shifts with Ed (thank you Ed). I got out of work a little early, and went home and napped. When I woke up, everything changed with my New Years Eve plans! If you've never heard me say this before, I don't particularly care to be out on the town two nights a year, New Years Eve and Saint Patrick's Day. These are amateur (drinker) nights, and if I have to share the road with drunks, I'd prefer people used to driving drunk, NOT THAT ANYONE SHOULD, EVER, rather than people who have no clue.

I had planned on going to the Jitterbugs New Years Eve party, because of my friends. However VK mentioned fireworks at Gene Leahy Mall downtown Omaha, and I like fireworks. So my plans changed to see the fireworks, then have a nice dinner, and be off the roads to avoid the crazies. We drove downtown to VK's work and parked, and ventured outside to position ourselves for the fireworks. According to the information VK had gathered from the official website, the best place to see the fireworks was in the Mall. So we, and about 10,000 other people were out staring at the Mall. We got too cold, so we went back to the car to wait until it started, planning to get out again. The fireworks show was choreographed to music on a local radio station, so we listened to the countdown, looked for the fireworks to be over the Mall, and were completely surprised to have them go off behind us in Heartland of America Park. I feel confident in saying we weren't the only ones who misunderstood. So we turned around and watched the fireworks and enjoyed the cold, cold weather.

After the show we went down to the Outback Steakhouse where VK's brother works. We had a nice dinner and ended our night early and safely.

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I feel pretty old staying out only until 2130 on New Years Eve.

On New Years day, I decided to catch up on all the sleep I had missed in 2009, finally getting out of bed around 1600ish. I didn't even win the late riser award amongst my friends. At 1930 I met Troy, Merinda, Maeg, Frank, and Joe at Red Robin for dinner. Frank, Joe, and I sat and talked for quite a while after everyone else had left, dinner was fun, but next up was a game I liked with a twist I liked even better. Dungeons and Dragons drinking game. The general premise was this: if you rolled a d20, and you needed 15, but you only rolled 11, you could take four drinks to make up the difference. You also drank when you killed something, as did the DM/GM. There may have been other drinking rules, but I'm not sure what they were. It was played in a very hack and slash manner and was quite fun and loud. If you plan on playing this way, pre-make your characters.

Saturday was another sleep late day. When I finally got up I went and hung out with Troy in the afternoon. I ended up going home just after 1700, but since we were all going to the same party, for Ben R.'s graduation, they came by and picked me up around 2000 and we headed over there.

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Lisa and Anna square off in the ancient ritual of youth and exuberance versus age and guile.

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I didn't even catch the name of this cat, but I think it wouldn't even notice the weather.

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Action like this can only be caught using a high speed camera like they use on Mythbusters.

Oddly enough, since Troy drove, I never noticed that I didn't have my keys until we got up to leave. It turned out well, the keys were in my basket at home.

Sunday I went to DJ's Dugout to watch the last football game of the year with Frank and Joe. The Bears won, it wasn't exactly a performance for the ages, but it certainly looked more like the team I expected at the beginning of the year (I said this twice in one post!), but hey, it was the Lions. We had a really good time, with me winning $21 (total) at Keno and the Bears winning too.

After the game I went home did some more of this never ending shoveling, and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Happy New Year everyone.

01 January 2010

2009 Onion Awards

For those of you who have never experienced the Onion Awards. These are highly coveted awards given every year in arbitrary categories chosen at random by a highly suspect respected panel of The Onion Skin News editors.

If 2009 had a road map, I would be all over it. As frankly as I can possibly be, I will NOT be sorry to see this decade pass away. Here is to 2010 and the twenty-teens!

Pet Awards:
  • Identical Twins From Different Mother's Award: Lucy and TB. You can tell them apart in person, TB is, um, bigger boned.
  • Most Likely To Sit Stubbornly In The Snow (3rd year in a row, sort of) Award: Zeke. Hanging out on the apartment deck railing during an epic snow event? Not the smartest cat ever.
  • Headbutting Award: Jinx. It's so cute.
  • Ever Since He Was A Kitten Award. Danny. Okay, so only by a technicality is a two year old child not a pet, but he sometimes acts like a cat.
  • Gratefulness Award: This is the first entire year in quite a while that I have not had to put a beloved pet down.
People Awards:
  • Eye Blinding Monochromatic Outfit Award: Jenny. Her outfit at the Jitterbugs Pink Party gave new meaning to over the top.
  • Magic Carpet Blanket Award: Merinda. She went for a ride on a blanket at Halloween and didn't stop until it was legendary.
  • There Was No Cheating Involved Award: Me. I took what was on the ballots and tabulated them up for the Chili Throwdown, volunteers now being accepted to tabulate next years event.
  • Hairstyle of the Year: Kevin. I like the long curly look ... feral.
  • Totally Approve Award. Kaleb. Rachel is a winner, keep her.
  • Camera Kicker Award: Sarah S. My camera strap broke, I didn't catch it in time, but brilliantly stuck my leg out to prevent the camera from falling to the ground more than a few inches ... just as Sarah swung her leg through while walking and kicked it 20 feet down the cement trail.
  • Toughest Job Award: Lisa. I really wouldn't want to be on that customer service line.
  • Employment Prerequisite Quote of the Year: Ben R, who said "I am a D.J., teach guitar, and am in a rock band. Drinking isn't just expected, it's desirable." (quote more or less accurate).
  • We'll Cry In Our Bears Beers Together: Me, Frank, and Joe. Our team has just looked bad.
  • More Cowbell Award: Bethany at Troy and Merinda's Halloween party.
  • Subway Commando Award: Jillian. Move back already.
  • Persistence Pays Off Award: Me. VK finally admits I'm her boyfriend.
  • The Wrong Directional School Award: Joe. That's Southern Illinois, not any other.
  • Put That *@#!* Camera Down Until I'm Ready Award: Brianne. I don't have any idea what she's complaining about.
  • Invisible Dance Partner Award: Maeg. Vampires don't show up on film.
  • Making Ukuleles Safe Everywhere Award: Becky. She makes her soft voice and ukulele command attention at her shows.
  • Names of the Year: Sarah and Ben. I'll leave it up to the reader to determine which one I am talking about, it's the second year in a row, but the same people didn't win this year.
  • Surprise Central Award: Kat. You just don't know what's next.
  • Did She Move Away Or Not Award: Liz. I'm still confused, I'm sure she said she left, but I see her more ofter than some of my Omaha friends.
  • Need A Frickin' Laser, Almost Award: Corinn. She has a hat with a killer whale on it.
  • Audrey Hepburn Lookalike Award: Sarah H. She showed up at Cowtown looking tres elegante.
  • Knows What A Man Really Wants Award: Lee. She makes some tasty treats, it must run in the family.
  • Hale and Hearty Award: Mark. Looks 'well preserved' for a man of 108 years old.
  • Mushiness Award: Keith and Jenny. This title has been stolen from Matt and Vivian.
Dance Awards:
  • Welcome Back Award: Robin. I think she is going more often than I am to JNO.
  • Event of the Year: Cowtown Jamborama. Was there any doubt? Yes, Cowtown Jamborama is my Facebook friend.
  • You Can Get Paid For This Award: Me and Maeg. We got our first paid teaching gig!
  • Michael Jackson Memorial Dance Award: Doing the 'Thriller' dance at Merinda's Halloween Party.
  • Surprise Dance Fun Award: Me, Troy, Merinda, Maeg, Dan, and Margaret. We got paid to dance at a private party, to the Prairie Cats.
  • Non-Swing Dance Award: The Hula dance at Jenny and Becky's Luau party.
  • Long Awaited Dance Space Award: The opening of the Nothnagel basement in February.
Moments Awards:
  • Best 21st Birthday Since My Motorcycling Adventure Award. Ben C. for turning 21 and Merinda for turning a interesting night into an unforgettable one ... unless you were the one drinking.
  • Wine Tasting Don't Drive Award: Matt and Vivian. Too bad no one lives in walking distance to a Hy-Vee any longer.
  • Best Birthday Party Award: Venche. At Soaring Wings Winery, perfect weather and great jazz.
  • Most Creative Party Idea: Matt and Vivian. The cheese party was creative and fun.
  • I Didn't Do It Award: Me. My character at the latest installment of Troy and Merinda's murder mystery parties wasn't the villain, in fact more like the hero.
  • Beat The Heat Award: 108F outside? No problem, go camping at Fremont Lakes and stay in the water for four hours straight.
  • I Knew He'd End Up In Jail Award: Me. I was arrested and sent to jail during a fish fry in a complete misunderstanding. At least the cop was cute.
  • Can We Throw Your Couch Off Your Deck Award: Matt. It turned out to be much easier than moving down stairs.
  • Largest Sushi Ever Award: Me. Kaleb had a sushi making birthday party and I got carried away.
  • Memorial Stadium Construction and Destruction Award: Building gingerbread houses at Jenny and Becky's Christmas party and then knocking them over with marshmallows.
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Water Award: Seeing my brothers after a fifteen year break. This big brother can still whoop up on them.
  • Best Day Alone: Me taking a short road trip down to Platte River State Park and surrounding areas.
  • Best Day Trip: Me and VK going to Ponca State Park. The closest I've been to South Dakota in a while.
  • Too Long Award: Me and my birthday. Inspired by Jillian, I tried to do too much, maybe two events would have sufficed.
  • Iron Pinata Award: Donna (Vivian's Mom). The pinata she made for Vivian's birthday party busted the stick in half, twice.
  • Yes It Really Exists Award: Me. I have found 1st street in Omaha.
  • Longest Goodbye Award: Jillian. She stretched out her send off to NYC to at least five events.
  • I Finally Got Your Birthday Right Award: Jen. December 11. Ha!
  • Camper Van Beethoven Interpretive Dance Award: The Shoveler's Bowling Outing.
  • Who's That Girl Award: Maeg. Yes, I know that she was a friend of Happy's, but seriously who was that girl at your party?
  • There's No Pot Of Gold Award: A rainbow came out of the sky and landed on the hood of my car, yes, I got a picture.
Gaming Awards:
  • Game Domination of the Year Award: Ben C. One night in an eight person game of Shadow Hunters, with all of his allies (The Shadows) dead already, all three Hunters at nearly full health, and himself down to one hit point, Ben came back and won the game.
  • Cylon Werewolf Award: CJ. He's always one of the two.
  • Long Suffering Video Gamer Award: Troy. For some reason, Troy's friends (me included) seem to think it's entertaining to watch him play and comment on his new and creative ways of dying.
  • Darren Sproles Fantasy Football Gold Award: Darren Sproles. Thank you Darren.
  • The 'Sure You Like Gaming' Award: Becky S. Yep, I see your name on the e-mails, but I don't see your face at the game nights.
  • Way To Sacrifice Yourself Award: Me. Playing a two cop / two mafia game of "Mafia", I outed Hugh on the first day of the game.
Photo Awards:

Out of my 3612 pictures I uploaded in 2009, these 20 pictures are my favorites and/or most memorables from my camera ... it was tough to narrow down!:

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These ones are, in my opinion, my best pictures of the year:

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I am really looking forward to great 2010!